A former University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics employee who sold tens of thousands of dollars in hospital-owned equipment for his own profit avoided prison this week when he instead was sentenced to probation.
Brian Manary, 35, was arrested in August on suspicion of ongoing criminal conduct and first-degree theft after a woman contacted hospital officials with concerns about a computer she had received from Manary.
If convicted on both charges, the former UIHC information technology employee could have faced up to 35 years in prison. Instead, Manary pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and this week received a deferred sentence of five years supervised probation.
That means the felony conviction will come off his record if he stays out of trouble for the five-year term. UI officials said Manary, as part of the plea deal, also has agreed to pay back what he took — at least the $57,026.89 investigators identified. He’s scheduled to have a hearing later this month to outline a restitution plan, according to court records.
But a special investigation conducted by the state auditor’s office found the more than $57,000 to be a “conservative” estimate of Manary’s theft.
According to the auditor’s report, Manary sold $36,123.39 of UIHC-purchased equipment — such as laptop and desktop computers — for $15,462.65 that he then deposited into his personal bank account. Auditors found an additional $20,903.50 tied to Manary’s unlawful transactions, although that money couldn’t be matched to specific purchases or bank deposits, according to the state report.
State investigators said several UIHC employees reported buying computers from Manary but couldn’t provide identifying characteristics of the items or remember how much they paid or when the transactions occurred.
“Because sufficient information as not available to match some equipment sold by Mr. Manary to the original purchase by UIHC, the amount identified is conservative,” state investigators reported.
Hospital officials were tipped off about the unlawful activity in June 2013 by a woman who received a gifted computer from Manary and discovered it was registered to the UIHC, according to the report. When the woman began asking Manary questions, he took the computer back and did so with several other computers he had given as gifts, auditors reported.
The hospital launched an internal investigation and contacted the UI Department of Public Safety and the Office of Auditor of State, which investigated Manary’s activities from Jan. 1, 2005 to July 5, 2013.
Manary started working with the UI in January 2005 as an information technology support services technician, and he was promoted to senior information technology support technician in April 2011, according to the report.
He was placed on administrative leave June 21, 2013, during the investigations, and Manary was fired June 28, according to the report. He could not be reached to comment for this story.
In response to Manary’s actions, and based on auditor suggestions, the UIHC has strengthened its internal controls over purchasing and improved record keeping of items susceptible to theft or loss, according to UI spokesman Tom Moore.
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